KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia's Anwar Ibrahim faces a hefty civil lawsuit by a former male aide who has accused the opposition leader of sodomising him, Anwar's lawyers said on Wednesday, calling the suit "politically motivated."
The suit, filed in June by Mohamad Saiful Bukhari Azlan, seeks damages of 50 million ringgit ($15.7 million) and adds to mounting headaches for the opposition leader.
Anwar, 67, is fighting to overturn a March criminal conviction on charges that he sodomised Saiful in 2008, a ruling that Anwar calls a smear by the ruling United Malays National Organisation (UMNO).
Anwar is currently also embroiled in a bitter dispute with a member of his three-party opposition alliance that threatens to break apart the coalition, whose recent electoral successes have put severe pressure on UMNO's long-ruling regime.
Anwar's lawyers said he must file a defence to Saiful's civil suit on September 3.
"It is politically motivated to smear Anwar's name. It is a baseless suit which we will defend vigorously in court," said N. Surendran, Anwar's counsel.